And now, for my 201st post, I give you #RPGaDay2015 Day 4: Most Surprising Game
I will narrow this one down to the past 12 months. In that time, I honestly have not played or game mastered many different games. The list is short. Night's Black Agents, King Arthur: Pendragon, D&D 5e, and Stars Without Number. The first as game master, the others as a player. Of those, only two are new: D&D 5e and Stars Without Number. Interestingly, both were run by the same game master.
For me, D&D5e is the winner of most surprising game. I didn't expect it to work as well as it did. I didn't expect to enjoy the rules as much as I did. I didn't expect to want to steal the rules for other games, at all.
And it was pretty easy to learn. Sure, I've played 1st through 3.5 edition, some Pathfinder one-shorts, 13th Age, and a dizzying amount of non-F20* games. However, with some versions, the nuances and rules can change. Those changes are not always obvious and I get annoyed when I find out I am doing it wrong. (Clerics in Pathfinder, I've got my eyes on you)
We played three sessions of the Lost Mines of Fandelver with our normal south-side gaming group + one. I think it went well overall. We all learned the rules the first night, clarified everything the second night, and coasted through the third night (rules-wise). We survived the fights, started our own fights, and came close to a TPK at one point due to everyone being down points - not due to the system taking out one type of character, then the next, etc.
The game works. If you are looking for a new flavor of D&D, try it, you might like it. If you want my preference for F20 games, look at the rules from 13th Age. There is an SRD for it, if you fancy such things.
*Defined by Robin D. Laws as fantasy games that use the D20 as the core mechanic, ala D&D. I heard it from his mouth first, so until he says and I hear it was defined by someone else first, I'm attributing it to him.
Day One: Forthcoming game you are most looking forward to
Day Two: Which Kickstarter are you most pleased that you backed?
Day Three: Favorite new game of the past 12 months